The reasons for this blog: 1. To provide basic author information for students, teachers, librarians, etc. (Please see sidebar) 2. I think out loud a lot as I work through writing projects, and I'm trying to dump most of those thoughts here rather than on my friends.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

No writing yesterday. I was a bum--busy with other stuff and confused over switching from WIP to w-f-h sample, but still a bum. I shoulda written something.

I'm not going to start the w-f-h sample yet. I've got to get a handle on it first. I'm going to call a writer friend and see if we can meet so I can try to talk it out.

Today Tyson and I sorted out a few things (him sniffing, me thinking, us both walking). I was a little stuck on the WIP, but now I've got something to work toward today. My last scene was people discussing and learning stuff and deciding to do things (bor-ing). That scene's not quite finished because I'm bored with it and don't know or care how to wrap it up (this may also be one reason I was a bum yesterday). Now I've got to finish that scene, end it on a question, and dive into another almost exactly like it, because more things have to be discussed and decided. Then I can hook up with a nice chain of scenes that I already have down on paper because they were more interesting to me.

Today it occurred to me that I'd better get the reader to like the dad before I kill him, otherwise they won't feel loss and despair. I thought, why don't I try to make them like him in the discussing scene? So although that scene would be doing plot stuff, to me it would really be about showing something characterwise.

[Side note: Then I thought, if I can always do this--take a plotting scene and do something characterwise--it could be the key to writing plot-driven stories for me. However, I quickly remembered I'd been trying to use this approach in the first four or five chapters. The problem was that there were a ton of characterwise things any one scene could be "about." This time the "about" is selecting itself. So maybe this approach is not so clearcut when you've got a large array of characterwise things to choose from.]

So I was thinking about how to quickly drive the point of a lovable dad while the characters are talking about plot stuff, and I couldn't come up with anything. But then I remembered I'd been wanting to write a scene with the MC thinking in bed at night (dunno why, I just want some kind of peaceful quiet scene that lets me sink into the room and the feeling of snugness a little). That was more fun to think about. Then I realized the secondary MC would have nightmares, and I knew I wanted to write a brief bit showing that. Then I thought, hey, since the main MC will be awake and up out of bed, maybe the dad can talk to him a little and be lovable? I couldn't think of anything to make him quickly lovable, but I did realize that he can say some of the stuff I'm trying to work onto the end of the discussing/deciding scene I'm bored with, so that scene can cut off quicker, thank g*d.

It's so much easier for me to work this way than struggling with things that I'm not interested in. It's easier to want to write something then think how I can use it to meet the needs of the story, than to see the needs of the story and try to meet them. On this nighttime scene, I can tell what the emotional point is without even thinking about it. Safety, snugness, loving family, protection, calm before the storm. I also know that it sets the reader up to understand the motivation behind things that happen later. However, I didn't think of the motivation connection till I'd already given myself permission to write the scene.

Now that I think about it, this nighttime scene, when added to the rest of the dad scenes, may be enough to make the reader really feel for all the characters when he's gone. Or not. We'll see.

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